Author Archives: Joshua Prince, Esq.

About Joshua Prince, Esq.

With our 2nd Amendment rights being attacked at both the Federal and State level, and the ATF (Burea of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) trying to close down FFLs (Federal Firearms Licensees) for minor infractions while making FFLs the scapegoat when the ATF's records are inaccurate, I want to taking this opportunity to introduce myself. I am one of only a handful of attorneys across the US that practices in the niche area of law known as firearms law. I decided to concentrate my legal practice on firearms law not only because I am a shooter and firearms enthusiast, but also to ensure that our inalienable Right to Keep and Bear Arms is never encroached upon. I handle cases at the Federal and State level for both FFLs and individuals. At the federal and state levels for individuals, I actively defend the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution and Section 21 of the PA Constitution, as well as, help individuals with: - License to Carry Firearms Denials; - Challenges to Erroneous PICS Denials; - Relief from Firearms Disabilities; - Estate Planning Advice; - Gun/NFA Trusts; and - 42 USC 1983 Actions for Deprivation of Civil Rights At both the state and federal levels, I represent FFLs and SOTs throughout Pennsylvania and the US regarding: - ATF Compliance Inspections; - Warning Letters and Hearings; - FFL Revocations; - Corporate Structure Advice - Indoor/Outdoor Range Implementation; and - Forfeiture Proceedings In following my love for firearms and firearms law, I have taught several Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars on Firearms in Estates and Trusts and Firearms Law 101 for several Bar Associations, including Berks, Cumberland, and Dauphin Counties. I also planned and taught several Firearms in Estates CLE classes for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI). While at Widener Law School, I was a member of the Widener Law Journal. I wrote an article on the Inaccuracy of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). I also had an article published on Fee Disputes in Workers Compensation cases in the Widener Law Journal, Volume 18, No. 2. You can often find me posting on several internet forums, including Subguns, Uzitalk, AR15, and PAFOA. I also hold PA Firearms Law classes for local ranges to inform the public on the firearm laws of the Commonwealth. Following in my father's footsteps, I am also a Board member for the Pottstown Police Athletic League (PAL).

Endorsement – Craig Stedman for Superior Court Judge

Today, I am formally announcing my endorsement of Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman for the Pennsylvania Superior Court. While some may be surprised with my endorsement of District Attorney Stedman – as I have been critical of him in relation to two specific matters – candidate Stedman provided me the unique opportunity to speak with him extensively about his positions and those matters, where I learned that my original criticism was misplaced, based upon a misunderstanding of his awareness of the situation, and which has resulted in me truly believing that he would be a phenomenal addition to the Superior Court.

In a conversation that lasted over an hour, we discussed everything from how his Office handles prosecutions of individuals who putatively make false statements on the ATF 4473 forms to preemption violations to self-defense claims and his ardent support for the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section 21. In relation to the one matter where I previously criticized him, I learned that he was not aware of the prosecution and as soon as he became aware, he immediately and personally reviewed all the evidence, sat down with Assistant District Attorneys in his Office that were involved and explained to them how it would be a manifest injustice for the prosecution to continue. As a result, he directed that the charges be immediately dismissed.

We also discussed numerous cases and decisions that he made, which clearly reflect his steadfast devotion to the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section 21. In this vein, I was genuinely surprised to leave our conversation with one overarching feeling – he sincerely cares about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. I cannot honestly state the last time, in speaking with an appellate judicial candidate, that I left with anywhere close to that feeling.

While many of you are aware that I do not take the endorsement of candidates – especially judicial candidates – lightly, as I truly believe that District Attorney Stedman respects and will continue to honor the Second Amendment, as well as, our other constitutional rights, I am proud to endorse him for the Superior Court. As it is imperative that we only elect judges that respect the Constitution, which I wholeheartedly believe District Attorney Stedman does, I am respectfully asking that you vote for him in November. Together, we can ensure that our inalienable rights are protected.

To learn more about Craig Stedman for Superior Court, check out his website and Facebook page. Obviously, if you are in a financial position to be able to donate to his campaign, I am sure he would greatly appreciate support!

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South Heidelberg Township To Require Firearm Renters To Do What?!?!

Over the weekend, it was reported by Reporter Keith Dmochowski of the Reading Eagle that during the South Heidelberg Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, August 10th, the Board of Supervisors agreed to require C.P. Tactical Solutions Inc. to enter into “a written agreement requiring background checks for gun rentals.” The article goes on to declare:

Solicitor Michael Gombar said that holding C.P. Tactical Solutions Inc. to a signed pledge will ensure that firearms are rented responsibly, despite the fact that background screenings for firearm rentals are not mandated by the township.

More interestingly, Solicitor Gombar further stated, in relation to a question as to why the Township hasn’t enacted an ordinance requiring such background checks of all firearm businesses, that

[t]he concern with putting anything into law is not necessarily that this company will not abide by it, but that the NRA and other gun-rights lobbies make it their point to find municipalities that are setting regulations, and fight them.

Nevertheless, Solicitor Gombar went on to declare that:

the terms of the agreement would allow police and code officers to perform random checks as a safeguard against potential violations…[and] that legal action would be pursued if the shop fails to provide background checks after signing the agreement. (emphasis added).

As a result, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., filed a letter on behalf of its client, Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), advising that any such agreement would result in felony and misdemeanor violations under the law and that FOAC was considering legal action, if the Township proceeded with the agreement. It appears that Solicitor Gombar and the elected Township Officials have failed to review federal and state law, both of which preclude the use of the background checks system (NICS and PICS, respectively), except in relation to the sale or transfer of ownership of a firearm. As an onsite firearm rental does not constitute a sale or transfer of a firearm, any use of NICS or PICS would be abusive and result in violations of federal and state law. They also appear unaware of the confidentiality provisions of Pennsylvania law, which also provide for civil liability, where confidentiality is breached.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, contact FICG today to discuss your options.


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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Strattanville Borough Declines To Move Forward With Firearm Discharge Ordinance

As our viewers are aware, we previously blogged about Strattanville Borough’s proposal to enact a firearm discharge ordinance, which resulted in Firearm Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., submitting a letter written in opposition on behalf of Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC) by Chief Counsel Joshua Prince.

Last night, Strattanville Borough voted, 5-2, not to move forward with the firearm discharge ordinance due to the legal ramifications and FOAC preparedness to institute legal proceedings against the Borough, if it moved forward with any form of firearm or ammunition regulation.

Please join us in congratulating FICG and FOAC in this accomplishment!

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, contact FICG today to discuss your options.


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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Armed Vehicle Defense – Are You Actually Prepared?

For a while now, I’ve had on my bucket list to attend an armed vehicle defense class, so that I could be better prepared if it became necessary for me to defend myself (or others) from within my vehicle, especially given the amount that I travel and find myself in a vehicle.

Unfortunately, with my insane schedule, it has proven difficult. However, this weekend, an opportunity presented itself to attend Trop Gun Shop‘s Armed Vehicle Defense two-day class, which is taught by Phill Groff. For those of you who don’t know Phill, I cannot do his background justice. For brevity, he has a substantial military and law enforcement bckground, with an emphasis on training law enforcement officers. But don’t let this concern you; Phill is an extremely down-to-earth and a phenomenal teacher, with actual real-life experiences and stories, unlike some trainers and YouTube commandos. But, you aren’t reading this because you want his CV – you already know that if I’m spending the time writing an article on the class that he taught, he has the necessary skill-set and is a phenomenal instructor. Rather, your question is: “But, Josh, why do I need training on use of a firearm in or around a vehicle?”

The answer is simple – for most of us, we utilize our vehicles to get to and from work. In addition, many of us utilize our vehicles daily to pick up and drop off our children and other tasks. Take a quick minute and think of all the times you used your vehicle in the last week (grocery store, department store, gas station, take-out food, going to and from a restaurant or event,…etc). Most of us spend far more time in our vehicles than we realize.

“But Josh, this still doesn’t answer my question.” You’re right. First, you need to realize the amount of time that you spend in your vehicle to understand the importance of an armed vehicle defense class. Then, you need to consider what that means in relation to your current training.

If you’re like most people, you spend a limited amount of range time preparing for the unlikely event that you are required to pull your firearm. That may, or may not, be enough to make you proficient at shooting paper and steel and maybe even pulling from your IWB concealed holster; but, have you trained for pulling your firearm while seated? With the a seat belt? Do you know the techniques for drawing your firearm in your car with a steering wheel in extremely close proximity to you? What about window deflection? Does it change whether you’re shooting from inside the vehicle to outside or from outside to inside? (Hint, YEP! Do you know how much each way? They’re FAR from the same and you need to know how to compensate based on your ammunition).  What if you have other occupants in the vehicle, like a friend, spouse or children – do you know the proper techniques to limit their likelihood of being shot by friendly fire? Remember, the assailant could come from the back quarter-panel or trunk of your vehicle. Do you know what parts of your car provide concealment versus cover? You might be surprised at the (limited) amount of cover that a vehicle provides to occupants, even to pistol calibers; however, you may likewise be surprised at the amount of rifle and shotgun calibers that cannot penetrate through a car. Per Phill’s trademarked slogan, the cover provided by a vehicle is consistently inconsistent.

One of many of the great aspects of Trop’s Armed Vehicle Defense class is the ballistic labs that you’ll go through, where you’ll get to see the result of pistol, rifle and shotgun (and even your own!) rounds impacting a vehicle. Think your defensive carry rounds are the best all-around for any situation you may find yourself in? You might be surprised…

You’ll also have an opportunity to shoot paper and steel from in, under and around vehicles – hell, while in one vehicle, you’re crashed into another (at 5-7 mph) and thereafter have to engage threats. Do I need to say more? Well, if you’re still not sold, after learning many of these invaluable lessons and skills, you then have an opportunity to see and try their real world application through force on force Simunitions. If you’ve never experienced force on force with Simunitions, then the class is worth it for this alone! If you have, then you know how phenomenal an opportunity it is to train force on force with Simunitions.

I simply cannot emphasize how invaluable this class was and the amount of knowledge that I obtained from these two days. I highly recommend that you take an armed vehicle defense class if you spend any amount of time in your vehicle. It just may save your life.

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Breaking News: ATF To Issue Two Monumental Determinations

Today, at the NSSF/FAIR Trade Group’s 16th Annual Firearms Import/Export Conference, during the roundtable discussions, the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) stated that it is working on two monumental determinations regarding modular silencers and vertical/angled foregrips.

First, in relation to vertical/angled foregrips, it was disclosed that FATD has received numerous requests for determination. These requests vary greatly in form and substance and resulted in Branch Chief Curtis stating that some form of determination would be issued to the Firearms Industry; hopefully in the coming weeks. He even mentioned that at this point, the degree of the angled foregrip would have to be addressed in the determination, after review of all past determinations, including ones issued by his predecessors and ones which may be in conflict.

Second, in relation to modular silencers, FATD acknowledged that it currently has pending before it a request for determination of legality from a modular silencer manufacture. Division Chief Griffith and Branch Chief Curtis raised concern over the determination request and the issues that must be addressed, including whether modular silencer are legal, when reduced in size. In essence, the concern stems from there arguably existing additional silencer parts that are not part of the modular silencer’s configuration, when it is reduced in length. In the event that ATF would rule that modular silencers are generally lawful, it raises a plethora of other issues, including where the markings must be placed (which is interrelated to ATF’s currently pending rulemaking: ATF-29P) or whether such silencers would require either specific location markings or multiple markings.

This means that if you are a silencer manufacturer, who manufactures modular silencers, there is still time to submit legal arguments to FATD as to the general legality of modular silencers. If you wish to submit legal arguments, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG) today to discuss your options.

Although ATF was reluctant to state whether these determinations would be in the form of “policy determinations,” “guidance” or “formal rulings,”  and stated that it could not provide an exact timeframe for these determinations, it was stated that they are overdue and should be expected in the very near future.

Stay tuned for a blog article from Attorney Adam Kraut on other news and revelations from the 16th Annual Firearms Import/Export Conference!


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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FICG On Behalf of FOAC Files Letter In Response To Strattanville Borough’s Proposed Illegal Firearm Ordinance

Yesterday, it was reported by Reporter Scott Shindledecker of ExploreClarion.com that Strattanville Borough was considering enacting an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms in the borough.

Borough Solicitor Ralph L.S. Montana was quoted as saying that he has his work cut out for him because “[t]here aren’t too many places in Pennsylvania that have firearms ordinances.” Maybe that is due to the fact that municipal firearm and ammunition regulation is unlawful pursuant to Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, as affirmed by the PA Supreme Court in Ortiz v. Commonwealth, and our state preemption statute found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6120.

Although Solicitor Montana was unwilling to share a copy of his proposed ordinance before submitting it to the Borough Council on Wednesday, August 9th at 7 PM, he did mention that he found Rose Valley Borough’s [unlawful] ordinance, which this ordinance would be based upon.

As a result, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®), a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., on behalf of its client, Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC), filed a letter in opposition to the proposal; wherein, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince explains the constitutional and statutory protections and case law precluding such regulation. In the event Strattanville Borough moves forward with the proposal, FOAC is prepared to file a legal challenge against the Borough and request the District Attorney to file criminal charges for violations of Section 6120.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, contact FICG today to discuss your options.

 


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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2018 Appropriations Bill Still Doesn’t Provide Funding For Federal Firearms Relief Determinations – Contact Your U.S. Representatives!

As our viewers are aware, although 18 U.S.C. § 925(c) provides for federal firearm relief determinations, since 1992, the ATF’s appropriation bill – which has been enacted each year thereafter – has provided a restriction on ATF’s use of any of the appropriate money for federal firearms relief determinations. As I reported in 2015, an amendment to the 2016 appropriations bill – H.R. 2578 – was passed, which provided for funding of federal firearm relief determinations. Thereafter, the bill, as amended, was passed by the entire House of Representatives. Unfortunately, due to the late nature of the House passing the bill, when it was received by the Senate, the Senate gutted all the language and replaced it with the language from an appropriations bill that it was working on in the interim. The Senate’s version was later passed by the House, including the provision precluding ATF’s usage of the appropriated money for federal firearms relief determinations.

The House is now working on an appropriations bill for 2018 and although it has been reported to include pro-Second Amendment provisions (which it does and are discussed below), the one provision which has not been modified, is the restriction on the appropriated money being used for federal firearms relief determination. Specifically, it provides that

Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code

Accordingly, I am respectfully requesting that you contact your U.S Representatives and demand that the language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill be amended to remove the restriction on ATF utilizing the appropriated money for federal firearms relief determinations. In the alternative, if your Representatives push back regarding the cost, then I would respectfully suggest that the language be modified to:

Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code; however, nothing shall preclude an individual from funding his/her own application for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c); whereby, the cost to the individual shall not exceed $1,000.00

As this strikes a balance between allowing federal firearms relief determinations to be made and the cost being born by the prohibited person, it is hard to fathom what objection anyone would have to this language.

In relation to the pro-Second Amendment provisions included in the current version of the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill,  it would:

  1. Ban the use of funds for the program launched under the Obama administration to require federally licensed firearm dealers in Southwestern Border States to report certain rifle sales to the U.S. government;
  2. Permanently defund any form of unmonitored “gun walking” operations involved in U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death;
  3. Effectively block the implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty;
  4. Permanently block any attempt by anti-gun groups within the ATF to implement a highly restrictive framework on the importability of shotguns (i.e. any shotgun that was importable before the release of ATF’s 2011 shotgun importability study could not be reclassified as “non-sporting” and therefore banned from importation); and,
  5. Promote the importation of collectible “curio and relic” firearms and facilitate export of certain firearm parts valued at $500 or less to persons in Canada.

Accordingly, please join us in supporting the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, while demanding that the language restricting federal firearms relief determinations be removed.

 

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